Some Verizon customers may be entitled to claim part of a $100 million proposed settlement that the wireless carrier agreed to pay to resolve a class-action lawsuit, according to a claims website set up by a settlement administrator.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of New Jersey, argued that Verizon’s administrative fees were unfair and not adequately disclosed to customers. The court in New Brunswick, N.J., approved the settlement on Dec. 15.
Court-appointed lawyers for the plaintiffs sent advisories by email and postcards, which were mailed to customers on Wednesday to customers eligible to file a claim.
Stephen DeNittis, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said in an interview that the $100 million settlement was among the largest against a company for charging administrative fees.
What was the complaint?
The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed in California in 2021. The complaint, which brought together four separate lawsuits and was filed on Nov. 10, accused Verizon, the New Jersey-based wireless communications giant, of deceiving customers by “prominently advertising certain monthly rates for postpaid wireless service plans.”
However, after customers sign on to the company’s service, the suit claims, “Verizon uniformly charges them higher monthly rates than it advertised and promised by adding what Verizon calls an ‘Administrative Charge’ to the bill.”
Verizon has denied the claims.
Rich Young, a spokesman for Verizon, said in a statement that the company “clearly identifies and describes its wireless consumer admin charge multiple times during the sales transaction, as well as in its marketing, contracts and billing. Mr. Young said that as part of the agreement Verizon had “made some changes in how the charge is described.”
President Biden has urged Congress to pass laws banning the “surprise fees” charged by companies, including hotels and service providers.
How do I file a claim?
Those eligible for a share of the settlement include U.S. customers with postpaid wireless phone or data plans — meaning those who signed up for services paid on a monthly billing cycle — who were charged administrative fees between Jan. 1, 2016 and Nov. 8, 2023.
At most, an affected customer could receive a $100 payment. The amount could be less depending on the length of time that a customer used Verizon services and the number of customers who file a claim, according to a claim form.
To file, customers must fill out and sign the two-page form and indicate their preferred method of payment — check, bank transfer or digital payment service. The deadline to submit a claim is April 15, 2024.
Customers may also choose to opt out of the settlement class and retain the right to sue Verizon separately over the matters outlined in the class-action suit filed in New Jersey.